Why did God need to become a man to die on the cross? Why didn’t He just send an angel or prophet to do it? Why couldn’t sin just be forgiven by a nod or wink or word from God? The answer to that question is given in the Scripture very clearly. 1 Corinthians 15:21, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.”
We must understand that God is holy and just and good. There is no contradiction or tension between the various attributes of God. That is, God’s justice is not fighting His love and neither of those is at odds with His grace or holiness. God’s love is a just and holy love. There is perfect harmony in God.
Now we must keep that in mind because when God, in love, moves to save sinners, He cannot move unjustly. If God were to overlook sin or inflict the punishment of human sin on an angel, for example, how would He ever be able to defend His justice? It would be a double-injustice to allow a guilty man to go free while an innocent angel suffers.
By man came sin; and by sin came death. Man must die because man sinned. God’s law cannot be ignored. But God’s love has an answer. God will be born a man. By taking on humanity He can both love man and, in effect, save man from Himself (from the wrath of God that sin legally deserves).
You say, “that isn’t my kind of God!” If you think that all of this talk about holiness, judgment, wrath and justice somehow makes the God of the Bible mean or undesirable you have missed the whole point. God has no choice but to deal with sin. His love is demonstrated in that He dealt with sin on Himself. That is the love of God — not man’s “anything goes” permissiveness.
And so God sent His own Son into the world to “become flesh” as the Bible puts it, in order to take humanity into Himself. As a man, Jesus lived in obedience to God’s Law. He then died a death of sacrificial atonement — the innocent for the guilty. He died as our substitute.
In Hebrews chapter one Jesus is proven to be God. In Hebrews chapter two, Christ is shown to be man. This was as necessary as it was important. Only a man can be tempted. Only a man can suffer. Only a man can die. But only a holy God can resist temptation without sin and be victorious over death.
God became man and took the penalty of sin on Himself so that, “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And “whosoever” can surely mean you. Believe on Him, solely on Him today!
By the way, Jesus is not the reason for the season — you are!
Do you have a question? You can contact Pastor MacDonald by writing to this paper or New Testament Baptist Church, 150 E. Trinity Acres, Safford, AZ 85546; e-mail: email@example.com.